In fact, Sykes seemed destined to claim his fourth consecutive pole at the Algarve track, before Giugliano gained a tow from the Kawasaki and took advantage of the draft to claim top spot.
Whilst Giugliano's exploits were certainly memorable, the session will be remembered for Jonathan Rea's crash, resulting in the Championship leader dropping down to the third row of the grid.
Rea had set the pace in the early part of the session but lost grip in the final section of the curvy track and slipped off, meaning he was unable to take part in the remainder of the season.
Rea's starting position down the grid may prove costly for him, particularly since the Ducatis of Giugliano and Chaz Davies – who finished in third – have shown significant improvements in pace so far this weekend.
Alex Lowes heads the second row and starts in a very credible fourth place, after the Voltcom Suzuki rider qualified for Superpole in the 15-minute session.
Leon Haslam, who set the pace in FP4, finished in fifth place ahead of Matteo Baiocco, who got a tow on his hot lap from Chaz Davies.
Reigning WSBK champion Sylvain Guintoli enjoyed his best qualifying session of what is proving to be a difficult season for him and will start Sunday's race in seventh, just ahead of Rea.
The top 10 was rounded out by Jordi Torres and Ayrton Badovini, who had been near the top of the time sheets throughout the practice sessions earlier on the weekend.
Full Superpole qualifying results:
1. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 27.071s
2. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1m 27.308s
3. Davide Giugliano ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199R 1m 27.344s
4. Leon Haslam GBR Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 1m 27.535s
5. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 27.554s
6. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati 1199R 1m 27.710s
7. Leon Camier GBR MV Agusta F4 RR 1m 28.011s
8. Matteo Baiocco ITA Althea Ducati 1199R 1m 28.188s
9. Sylvain Guintoli FRA PATA Honda CBR1000RR 1m 28.370s
10. David Salom ESP Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 28.620s
11. Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW Italia S1000RR 1m 28.701s
12. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Honda CBR1000RR 1m 28.715s
Grid positions determined by SP1
13. Jordi Torres ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 1m 28.689s
14. Nicolas Terol SPA Althea Racing Ducati 1199R 1m 28.827s
15. Leandro Mercado ARG Barni Ducati 1199R 1m 28.991s
16. Roman Ramos ESP GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 29.436s
17. Christophe Ponsson FRA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 29.668s
18. Randy de Puniet FRA Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 1m 29.686s
19. Niccolo Canepa ITA Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 29.783s
20. Santiago Barragan ESP Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1m 30.839s
Did not progress to Superpole
21. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 1m 32.647s
22. Gabor Rizmayer HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 1m 33.466s